Klaus Hart Brasilientexte

Aktuelle Berichte aus Brasilien – Politik, Kultur und Naturschutz

USA, White House, black President – Frei Betto.

As from 20th January next Barak Obama, the son of an African father and a North American mother, will occupy the presidential seat in the White House for at least four years.

In a nation like the USA which is deeply marked by racism this dream became reality thanks to the courageous attitude of Rosa Parks in 1955. She was a 42 year old dressmaker and an activist in the Black Movement who on 10th December 1955 got on a bus in Montgomery Alabama and sat in the only empty seat.

A little later a white man got on the bus. He demanded that she get up and give him her seat. Everyone in Alabama knew the law: white people had precedence over black people on public transport. Rosa did what Antigone did, between the law and justice, she chose the latter.  She remained seated.

She was arrested and let go after paying a fine. She lost her job and suffered death threats which obliged her to move to Detroit. When she was interviewed she stated ”The real reason for my not giving up my seat on the bus was that I felt I had a right to be treated the same as any other passenger.

Soon after this her solitary attitude became one of solidarity. A young minister from the Baptist Church, Martin Luther King Jr., encouraged his black congregation to follow her example. The black population in Alabama boycotted public transport for more than a year until the racist law was revoked. Rosa had lit the fuse for the North American civil rights cause and against apartheid. Everywhere blacks embraced civil disobedience repeating ”I™m black, I™m proud.

Rosa did not live long enough to attend Obama™s swearing in. She died at 92. In her honour, Apple computers placed ”Think different on their web site logo and below it ”Rosa Parks (1913-2005).

There is something new on the American continent: the economic elite and the political no longer concur. Lula in Brazil, Morales in Bolivia, Chavez in Venezuela, Correa in Ecuador, Lugo in Paraguay and now Obama in the United States totally clash with the DNA of traditional political oligarchies on the Continent. This is a sign that virtual democracy is seriously threatened by real multicultural democracy particularly now that the crisis in capitalism has demoralized the dogma of the self regulation of the market calling for intervention by the State.

Obama represents all that which warrants the disdain of the USA™s WASP white racist elite.

In the 1980s things appeared to be out of control when Jesse Jackson who is also black, ran for the presidential election in 1984 and in 1988. Actually, language, as Freud would say, reveals meanings beyond its etymology. Many refer to Obama as ”Afro American. Nobody ever called Bush ”Euro American or called any of us white descendents of the Spanish and Portuguese who colonised Latin American as ”Ibero Americans.

Speaking of words, one that needs to lose its place in dictionaries and in our vocabulary is race, when applied to human beings. It does not exist according to biology. There is only one race “ the human race.

Our individualities and identities are not built according to the colour of our skin but according to multidimensionality of our social interaction. Therefore it makes no sense to talk about the Law of Racial Equality or about a Special Secretariat for the Promotion of Policies for Racial Equality.

We need to build a de-rationalised society and culture. As scientist Sergio Danilo Pena of the Human Genome Project says ”a comforting thought is that for sure humanity in future will not believe in races any more than we today believe in witchery. Racism will be spoken of as one more historical and temporary abomination just as we today perceive the absurdity of witch hunts.

Obama could prove to be full of surprises. But it is gratifying to see him and Lewis Hamilton, the Formula One champion, standing out in areas which until now were monopolised by whites.
*Frei Betto is a writer, author of ”A arte de semear estrelas (The Art of Sowing Stars) (Rocco).
He is a Brazilian Dominican with an international reputation as a liberation theologian. Within Brazil he is equally famous as a writer, with over 52 books to his name.  In 1985 he won Brazil™s most important literary prize, the Jabuti, and was elected Intellectual of the Year by the members of the Brazilian Writers™ Union. Frei Betto has always been active in Brazilian social movements, and has been an adviser to the Church™s ministry to workers in Sáo Paulo™s industrial belt, to the Church base communities, and to the Landless Rural Workers™ Movement (MST). In 2003-2004, he was Special Adviser to President Lula and Coordinator of Social Mobilisation for the Brazilian Government™s Zero Hunger programm.

Dieser Beitrag wurde am Freitag, 05. Dezember 2008 um 19:33 Uhr veröffentlicht und wurde unter der Kategorie Politik abgelegt. Du kannst die Kommentare zu diesen Eintrag durch den RSS-Feed verfolgen.

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